Do you suppose that anyone aboard the Enterprise who wears a red shirt and isn’t named Scotty or Uhura draws lots to see who has to go on the landing party with Kirk, Spock and Bones?
Okay, okay, redshirt jokes are nothing new. But there’s one aspect of the redshirt trope I’ve always loved. They’re almost always armed with phasers and equipped with communicators, and yet they never manage to shoot the monster or call for help before the monster can kill them. Kirk, Spock and Bones are always alerted to their horrible deaths by the sound of an offstage scream of terror.
The M113 Salt Vampire here is one of the best creatures from the original series. Kind of silly and cheesy in the way that any sci-fi television show in 1966 – regardless of budget – would have to be. But still genuinely creepy and, as such things go, convincingly alien. One must wonder, though…if the creature survives mainly on salt, which it ingests primarily by absorbing it through the suckers on its fingers, why does it need lamprey-like mouth full of sharp teeth?
Oh, well. Part of the charm of the original series is that they weren’t developing in-depth alien cultures and carefully considering the evolutionary history of the various alien monsters the Enterprise crew encountered from week to week. It was all very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, with the primary concern obviously not even the slightest shred of a pretense of scientific accuracy, but rather what would be cool, what would be interesting or exciting or fun.